No. 2807 has now completed its last few days of running prior to heavy overhaul. The overhaul is likely to take a few years, so here's some photos from the 1st January 2020 to remind us of what we can expect on 2807's return.
(photos reproduced by kind permission of Geoff Turner)
Cotswold Steam Preservation Ltd has been planning the heavy overhaul of GWR steam locomotive No. 2807 for a number of years.
It had already been decided to withdraw 2807 at the end of the 2019 season at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway. The final two days of operation for a number of years wil be 31st December 2019 and 1st january 2020.
The reason for withdrawing the locomotive is to carry out a heavy overhaul, something that is required for all steam locomotives in order to ensure the safety of the pressure vessel, the boiler.
The boiler work is normally the most important task carried out during the overhaul. It is not work that can be carried out by the volunteer team because it requires specialist skills. It is important to select a suitable contractor to carry out the work.
Taking into consideration the availability of a 'slot' in the contractors schedule, the quality of work carried out by the contractor on behalf of other locomotive owners, the cost, and other considerations, it has been decided to contract Riley & Son (E) Ltd of Heywood, Lancashire.
The work to remove the boiler from the frames will be the top priority once 2807 is withdrawn. It is hoped that the boiler will be transported to Riley & Son around mid-2020.
As 2807 approaches time for the 10-year overhaul, decisions have to be made regarding when to withdraw the loco from service, and how best to contract out the overhaul works which cannot be completed by the volunteer team.
The previous post spelled out the withdrawal options. The Cotswold Steam Preservation Ltd Board has decided to withdraw 2807 following the last Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) operating day of the 2019 season. This means that Tuesday 31st December 2019 and Wednesday 1st January 2020 will be 2807's final days in service for a number of years.
It is expected that 2807 will be rostered as Steam1 on 31st December (departs Toddington 10am heading for Cheltenham) and Steam2 on 1st January (departs Toddington 10:30am heading towards Broadway). You can check the roster here and the calendar and timetables here.
This decision was taken in conjunction with the GWSR to ensure that the railway has an opportunity to plan its operations around the withdrawal.
Decisions regarding the contracting out of works are ongoing. The decision regarding the boiler works will be made by the end of the year.
Despite being nearly due a 10-year overhaul, reliability continues to
be good and there's very little to report, except for a regular
boiler washout. So let's move straight on to the overhaul.
Way back in March
2010, when we were frantically trying to get 2807 operating as
quickly as possible, one of the tasks completed was a hydraulic test
of the boiler. Ten years on from this, and the boiler certificate
will expire on 10th
March 2020. This is the event that triggers the 10-year overhaul for
all steam locomotives. Unless of course there is some sort of major
failure before, or the boiler inspectors grant an extension for a
period of time.
So what do we do
about this? At a high level, the options are:
1) When the annual
boiler examination is due in November of this year, we decide not to
have the examination but to start the overhaul instead.
2) At the end of the 2019 operating season at the GWSR we withdraw 2807 and start the overhaul
3) At the end of
the boiler certificate in March 2020 we start the overhaul.
4) At the end of
the boiler certificate in March 2020 we request an additional
examination to find out whether an extension to the certificate is
Each of these
options has a long list of pros and cons which I won't go into here,
but Cotswold Steam Preservation Ltd won't be making any decisions
without first consulting with the GWSR. We need to make sure that
our plans for 2807's overhaul fit in with GWSR's plans for operating
the railway. We also need to select a company to carry out the work
on the boiler, and to join a queue of other boilers waiting for
attention. If there is a 'gap' in the queue then that might
influence our choice of option, and which company will carry out the
All of which means
that right now I can't tell you which of these options (or maybe one
we haven't thought of yet) we will be going with.
Once an option is chosen, we will work with the GWSR to see if there is the possibility of a farewell event for 2807. Details will be made available as soon as possible.
So quite a few
unknowns at the moment, which is a little unnerving. And we can add
to the unknowns because until we start dismantling the locomotive we
won't know the condition of some of the parts. If any are worse than
expected then this may mean that we have to carry out more work,
meaning additional time and expense to complete the overhaul.
This is why, in
addition to income from steaming fees, we've carried on with our
fundraising activities without a break. I'm sure you will have seen
us represented at events at the GWSR, and you'll know from reports in
previous editions of the Cornishman that there are a number of ways
that you can help us financially to make sure that 2807 is overhauled
and back in operation as quickly as possible.
There are a number of ways that you can help and some of these are detailed on this web site. One of the most popular is to become a shareholder.
Meanwhile we still
have our siphon van at Winchcombe. This becomes vitally important to
us now because there will be a lot of parts removed from 2807
shortly, and we need somewhere secure to store them. The siphon
will be used for this, but needs some more work to make it ready.
This includes ensuring that the storage shelving is in good condition
and suitable for the heavier items. This work is underway now and
should be completed in time, whichever option we decide upon.
year 2020 is going to be an important one for us, with lots to sort
out and decisions to be made. We'll keep you informed as much as
possible via these round-ups.
No. 2807 started
the 2019 season well, if a few weeks late. But on April 7th
she was failed with a hot coupling rod bearing. The team got to
work, and after removing the connecting rod and the offending
coupling rod, discovered that the lubricating oil passage was
blocked. This of course meant insufficient oil reaching the bearing
surfaces, hence the hot bearing.
By the end of
Wednesday the 10th,
the oil passage was unblocked, and the rods refitted. On Saturday
2807 was supposed to double-head with 4270 to make sure all was well.
But unfortunately 4270 was failed with a broken spring so 2807 took
the service train alone. The run was successful and the bearing
temperature was normal.
Some of the drivers
had reported that the brake vacuum was sticking at 19in of mercury,
when it should be reaching 21 in. The suspicion was that the vacuum
piston rod had become worn to the extent that the glands were not
sealing. Measurement of the rod diameter found a difference of 40
thou along its length. This can be looked at during the heavy
general overhaul next year, but for now the gland was tightened, and
the brakes were adjusted so that the vacuum piston rod does not have
to move as far.
Towards the end of
April there were reports of a cracked spring. At the next
opportunity this was replaced before it broke, because a broken
spring triggers a loco failure (as for 4270 earlier). The crack was
very small and so our thanks to the drivers who spotted it.
There were the
usual array of minor issues to resolve, many involving valves that
were not sealing and needed lapping-in. A washout was completed just
before the steam gala, along with fitting our spark arrestor
And our 'workshop' received some attention. The workshop
is actually an old shipping container. This is the GWSR's preferred
option for providing working space. Loose rust was removed from the
roof and a coat of bitumen paint applied.
In between times, the team have had to work hard at the boot scraper production
line because so far this year, on average, one has been sold for
every railway operating day.
Since our team works twice a week,
sometimes we need to complete two or three (or more) at a time just
to keep up with sales. (for more information on our boot scrapers, visit our shop)
So I went and said
no reason to think that 2807 won't be ready for the start of the 2019
running season”. What on earth was I thinking. I forgot the
golden rule. Whatever you plan to do on a steam locomotive, it won't
go according to plan. And the end result? No. 2807 ran her first
services this year on March 23rd.
Which actually isn't that bad because the season only started two
weeks earlier. But it did mean we missed the Cheltenham Festival
race trains this year.
January the valve cylinder liners were re-bored. This work was
carried out by Tyseley, and they did a similar job on Dinmore Manor
at the same time. This is work that was to be part of the heavy
general in a year or so, meaning it won't now need to be done as part
of that overhaul. Of course one implication is that some of the
valve parts need to be replaced to suit the new cylinder dimensions.
C=cutter, S=screw thread
reason for the slight delay to the start of our season was not so
much the amount of work, but the availability of parts. Or rather,
the non-availability of parts. Mainly the new piston rings and parts
for the valve assemblies. The problem seems to have been that
Tyseley couldn't get hold of the correct grade of material and so
they couldn't manufacture the parts. The main cylinder piston rings
were collected from Tyseley mid-February, and the valve parts on 8th
Main piston re-fitted with new rings
Valve piston rings
waiting for these to come through, the team worked on the injectors,
cab fittings, clack valves, whistles, drain cocks, and more. And
between times, painting loco, tender, and of course boot scrapers.
was very pleasing though that after working on so much around the
pistons and valve gear, plus the other parts, 2807 went on a test run
to Cheltenham and back on Friday the 22nd
and was declared fit to run service trains the next day. So that bit
did go very much according to plan, just a few weeks adrift of the
also want to mention that Stuart will be running our “2807 Grand
Draw” again this year. Tickets
are £1 each and
be available from him either at railway events or
email@example.com). First prize is cash equivalent to 28.7%
of the value of tickets sold, second is a bespoke conversion of a
Hornby GWR 28xx into No. 2807, plus a number of other prizes. The
draw will take place on Tuesday 12th
Well there's good news and not so good news. The good news is that 2807 hauled the train for the Armistice Centenary event at the railway on the 18th November. The event was universally well received and we are proud that 2807 was able to play her part. The significance of 2807 to the event is that during WWI she hauled “Jellicoe Specials”, the coal trains running from South Wales to the Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow. For the occasion a massive poppy was attached to 2807's smokebox.
But just a week later, the not so good news. Just to remind us all that running steam locomotives is difficult and unpredictable, 2807 was failed on the 25th November. The symptom was a very unusual exhaust beat and lack of power. The first thought was a broken valve ring. After taking out both of the valve spindles, it was clear that none of the rings were broken.
So what was the problem? The next assessment was a lack of lubrication to the valve cylinders, causing deposits between the rings. The lubrication system was thoroughly examined and adjusted. After much cleaning, the valves were refitted. By this time it was 5th December. A test was carried out the following day.
But the problem was still there. A few days later a number of people had come to the same conclusion. That it was probably a piston ring (not valve piston ring) that had broken. As this has happened to 2807 before we know of a relatively easy test. The remnants of the ring usually end up in the body of the drain cock. And sure enough, it was full of bits of ring. What this meant was that 2807 was out for the remainder of the season.
While the valves were out, the valve cylinders were measured. The wear is sufficient to need a re-bore. So over the winter we'll re-bore the valve cylinders, re-cut the (main) piston head grooves, and fit new rings to all. While this is a significant piece of work, it was planned in for the 10-year heavy general overhaul anyway, and so all we're actually doing is bringing this forward. Our sincere thanks to the numerous people in the steam loco dept. who helped during this period.
This means that we have a busy few months ahead, but there's no reason to think that 2807 won't be ready for the start of the 2019 running season. Steve
In short, more smooth running from No. 2807. That's a summary of the last three months. Topped off with a successful steam test at the start of October. Not quite that simple of course. Apart from the regular boiler washouts, a few other items have been tackled.
We seem to have a recurring problem with leaking clack valves. This means that there's a seepage of steam back towards the injectors. We have two sets of valves, and this means that we always have a set that are off the locomotive and can be worked on. In our team, Bruce in particular is becoming an expert on the clack valves, and has been known to work on other locos' clacks as well as ours.
Another item that we had been monitoring is a leak from the pep pipe. This is the pipe that's used to damp down the coal, to reduce dust. This improves comfort for the crew and reduces the chance of a coal dust explosion. The pipe is sometimes used to help clean the footplate area. In our case, the valve controlling the flow has been leaking. Bruce, again, lapped the valve components and this seems to have resolved the problem for the moment.
The team have also been working on a problem with the ash pan sprinkler system. This is something that was added in to the design of the ash pan and wasn't standard originally. The pipework on the right hand side has broken and leaks water out instead of sprinkling the ash. Because of limited access, and because we're near to the heavy general overhaul, the decision has been made to cut off the pipe and plug the end. This leaves us with the pipework intact on the left hand side, and this still operates to dampen the ash in the ashpan.
Another significant improvement that has been made is to add a standard hose connection to the end of the blowdown valve pipe. This makes it significantly easier to fill the boiler, for example after a boiler washout.
While the hot and dry weather over the summer was very welcome, it did cause problems with lineside fires. These can be caused by sparks from the chimney and from the ash pan. Fortunately we already have spark arrestors that can be fitted into the ash pan damper door apertures, and onto the blast pipe in the smokebox. These are effective in reducing the release of sparks and thereby reduce the chance of lineside fires. Our design for these arrestors has proven itself, and this year we were asked to produce similar ones for 4270.
Meanwhile at Winchcombe our siphon vehicle now has refurbished (but not operational) corridor connections. As the weather starts to deteriorate, work will move back to painting the interior.